Visited Faversham in Kent recently and whilst on a walk through this very historic town, came across two very interesting stories, literally plastered on the walls of two ancient houses. One told the story of Michael Greenwood, who at the age of 17 in 1748, was press-ganged into the Navy, then his ship, the Litchfield, was wrecked off the Barbary Coast, and he and his shipmates were captured by Moors, and enslaved for 17 months till they were ransomed. After that he returned to Faversham where he worked as an oyster dredger, but during his captivity he kept an extensive diary which is apparently still in existence and is owned by his descendants in Queensland! Would love to read it..
The other story is of a notorious crime in Tudor times–the murder of a man named Thomas Arden by his wife Alice and her lover Mosby. This was a bungled affair–several attempts were made which failed until finally the murderous pair hired two hitmen, returned English soldiers from Calais known amazingly as Black Will and Loosebag, who killed Arden but bungled it so badly that the murderers, all of them, were quickly discovered and executed, except for Loosebag, who managed to get away. Not surprisingly, this gruesome and bizarre crime was not only the talk of the country but it inspired a play, Arden of Faversham, which though anonymously published, is thought variously to have been written by Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd and William Shakespeare–either solely or collaboratively. The play has been produced many times over the centuries–the latest of which was last year, when it was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, updated to modern times.
Such great stories! Am sure they will find their way somehow into my writing, somewhere..